Apparently, you can sell any wacky idea to Livingston County Commissioners if you tell them it will save money.
That's how a former county employee apparently put herself in position to steal thousands of dollars from the taxpayers, right under the noses of our county commissioners.
Julie Wyland Crouse was in charge of the county's medical benefits program, which meant she took in employees' benefits forms and claims and sent them to payroll for payment.
The county previously had paid an outside company to oversee the reimbursements, but, according to the Livingston Press and Argus story in editions for Thursday (July 16, 2009,) "Crouse convinced county officials that using Marwil was 'wasting money,' Gadsby said. As a result, county officials discontinued Farmington Hills-based Marwil's service effective July 1, 2005, leaving Crouse the sole person responsible for determining whether employees' were receiving the correct reimbursement, the detective said."
So, according to charges filed against her, Crouse proceeded to embezzle taxpayers' money. The Livingston County Prosecutor's Office has charged her with two counts of embezzling at least $1,000 but less than $20,000 from the county.
In other words, no one was watching what Crouse was doing. That's a violation of fundamental rules of accounting requiring checks and balances. County officials should have known better. But Crouse apparently spoke the magic words, "It'll save money," and commissioners stupidly fell for it.